Congratulations to our staff members who were successful in the most recent round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding.

Those confirmed for Discovery Projects in 2016 are Spiro Penev, Scott Sisson, and Thanh Tran; while Peter Straka was announced as a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient.

In addition, William Dunsmuir has received a Discovery Project through Macquarie University.

See full grant details below.

Discovery Projects

Associate Professor Spiridon Penev;
Prof Pavel Shevchenko

The project aims to develop new methods for robust risk evaluation and minimisation under various constraints and scenarios. Risk evaluation, estimation and prediction using past data is a central activity in diverse areas such as finance, insurance, superannuation and environmental regulation. The project aims to propose and solve innovatively robust risk optimisation problems under constraints, taking into account the time dynamics. Applications include risk management around natural catastrophes and long-term asset investment of pension funds. The solutions and outcomes are expected to deliver optimal resource allocation proposals and better management of risk exposure in practice. ($343,700.00)

Associate Professor Scott Sisson;
Dr David Nott

This project aims to develop new statistical methods for the analysis of computationally intractable models. Direct statistical analyses are often impossible when models are highly complex or too large, or when the dataset is too big. Using simpler models means that the wrong questions are being answered. Using less data is wasteful of information. This project aims to develop new methods for Bayesian statistical inference when standard methods are intractable. By allowing otherwise unavailable analyses, such techniques can enable and accelerate across-the-board research advances. Key expected innovations are new bases for sampling from computationally intractable distributions and novel distributed computing algorithms which could be applied to problems in health economics to infectious disease modelling, from climate extremes to road traffic modelling. ($404,000.00)

Associate Professor Thanh Tran;
Prof Beniamin Goldys; Prof Zdzislaw Brzezniak; Prof Dr Andreas Prohl; Prof Dr Ernst Stephan; A Prof Salim Meddahi

This project aims to develop novel mathematical theories and numerical methods for problems affected by uncertainty in input data. This type of uncertainty exists in most mathematical models of real life applications. For these problems, a single deterministic simulation with one set of input data is of limited use. Therefore, novel techniques to deal with randomness are essential. The problems in this project are driven by specific applications from ferromagnetism, structural acoustics and vibration. The new theories may lay the foundation for understanding ferromagnetic materials and structural acoustics. The novel approaches to be developed in this project may form the basis for the study of stochastic liquid crystal theory and other interface problems. ($329,377.00)

Professor William Dunsmuir; Professor Johanna Westbrook; Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite


(With Macquarie University - Australian Institute of Health Innovation)

This project aims to generate new evidence of the nature and consequences of interruptions and multitasking in safety-critical clinical environments. Interruptions are ubiquitous in modern work environments. Multitasking, particularly with information technology, is now an attribute prized by many. However, there are increasing concerns that interruptions and multitasking contribute to errors and work inefficiency. Significant gaps in our understanding of these relationships inhibit action to improve work productivity and safety. This project plans to measure the effects of these work practices, and to develop methods, statistical approaches and theory. It also plans to propose practical strategies to support safe and efficient work processes. ($462,628.00)

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Dr Peter Straka               


This project seeks to advance knowledge in extreme value theory. Extreme value theory is essential to quantify risks in complex systems, such as the risk of network failures. Current statistical models for the occurrence of extremes assume that events happen regularly. This assumption, however, is at odds with human actions and many biological and physical events, which occur in bursts. There is a strong need to understand the effect of such ‘bursty dynamics’ on the frequency and magnitude of extreme events. This project aims to develop extreme value theory for bursty events and thus lay the mathematical groundwork for the estimation and prediction of extremes in a variety of scientific contexts. ($294,336.00)